Wood selection for lock miter bits

I was making some storage boxes for the basement and thought I'd try out a lock miter router bit. I had some hardware store cedar planed to 3/4" left over from another project so I tried that. Using the recommended router speed and setup block the inside of the lock router cut was very rough with a lot of tear-out along the cut. I used a backing piece to prevent tear-out at the end of the cut. It didn't seem to matter much if I took several small passes, a couple of medium passes, or did the whole cut in one pass. I used a miter slide for the horizontals and a mortise jig for the verticals and vibration was not an issue. I'm guessing that cedar (or white pine for that matter) is too soft / weak to stand up to the kind of simultaneous cross-grain cutting on different levels that the lock miter bit produces. Has anyone had particularly good luck with lock miter router joinery and if so, what woods worked for that?
Thanks, Bob Kirkpatrick
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Bob Kirkpatrick wrote:

I've used everything from white pine, yellow pine, oak and (mostly soft) maple w/ no real problems.
I would think the cedar might tend to be a problem as it is indeed very soft, but I'd tend to blame the sharpness of the bit more than the wood.
BTW, one can help some by pre-cutting the miter w/ the chop saw so the bit is only doing the shaping, not the major wood removal.
What brand of bit was it, btw?
Oh, for softer woods, sometimes one will actually get a better cut from a HSS cutter than from carbide as they can be sharpened to a finer edge than most carbide. Of course, there's the trade of of longevity of the edge.
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dpb wrote:

If he does that, wouldn't it be 6 of one, 1/2 a dozen of the other?
If you lock miter a 90 degree edged board, part of the bit is removing lots of wood, another isn't.
If you lock miter a 45 degree board, and have left enough wood for the tongue, you're still removing lots of wood, but in a different place.
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B A R R Y wrote:

Not really...

You're removing nearly the same amount of wood from the full width -- only the depth of the tongue which is 1/8" or thereabouts--there's no full-depth cut at all required, simply shaping the lock and cleaning up the miter.
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Bob Kirkpatrick wrote:

Sure!
My main use for my Whiteside bit is quarter-sawn white oak. I'm using it _with_ the grain to create legs and corner posts with wrap around ray flecks.
I used it once across the grain with maple, the results were very nice.
Have you tried using disposable fence faces to create zero clearance support for the cut?
What brand of bit is it?
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I tried the same w\QS Wht Oak for a big bed on commision. The lock miters were the perfect solution... I thought. I pre-beveled the pieces on the TS and still had huge tear out. I came up with a method of getting the cutter setup perfect, then temporrarily building out the fence so I do the cuts in multiple passes. I would still everynow and then get a big jump and chip out. I didn't realize until I was done that everytime I was getting chip out, it was pulling the bit out of the collet a smidge so by the time I was done I had one large pile of crap with many hours of labor, with some of the best hand picked figure I had seen in some time.
I am still building clocks and other small projects from that pile.
I preped all new stock and just did bevels on the TS. I did a very precise setup with feathers over and side and has a super sharp blade and those beveled edges would slice you open they were so sharp.
Then I built a cradle to hold the first two pieces for glue up and then teepeed the other two over the top for glue up. I pinned nailed them at the ends (to be trimmed later) on three sides, then rolled thme in the cradel and pinned the last side. Then clammped them out careful not to squeeze them out of shape.
they have held up well and this is how I'll do it from now on... unless I can get better at box miters, they are awesome when they work.

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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

...
Oh man, that would be a pisser... :(
I responded earlier, but most of my experience actually is w/ the spindle shaper setup, not w/ router, so that might make a difference.
I don't have anything but 1/2" max (I think) thick stock that the router bit will do, and I've not done much very difficult w/ it...
I didn't have any trouble doing newel posts in white oak on the shaper, though. It makes glue up a snap if they're accurate.
It's a little more of a pita to set up, but before I bought the lock miter I used to saw a kerf at 90 to the bevel and insert a spline. No real strength but it does help the alignment and stop the sliding on glueup. But there's plenty of glue surface on the miter, anyway.
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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

Here's my method, which works nearly flawlessly:
- Carefully slide disposable fence faces in, allowing the bit to cut them and create a zero clearance fence.
- Set the fence for a perfect cut. Clamp a stop block behind each end of the fence. Slide _one_ end of the fence out, away from the stop block, to set up a shallow cut. Make a pencil mark on the table showing the first cut position.
- Make (2) sleds to carry the blanks, from 1-1/2" MDF (or laminations), that hold the stock from the ends, with metal fasteners clear of the bit. The MDF parts will be the same length as the stock blanks, with a hardwood finger at each end. The sleds will act as zero clearance inserts at each end. You will need two, as there is an "A" and "B" cut in this operation. One holds the stock with the edge down, the other with an inside face down. A + B = one corner when assembled. Mark each jig with bold "UP" arrows to prevent mistakes later.
One of these days, I'll put photos of these sleds online. I didn't invent them, but can't remember what book I saw them in.
- Load a blank in each jig.
-- I don't bother to pre-bevel with a 1-1/4" Whiteside bit and Bosch 1617 EVS slowed down to "2" or "3" --
- Set up for a shallow cut. Cut both parts, REMEMBER the jig orientation (DAMHIKT). I TOLD you to mark it! <G>
- Move the fence back towards the stop block until each profile is cut. Climb cut the last two or so passes.
Using this method, I can make a set of square legs in a tick over 1/2 hour, including building the jigs.
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"B A R R Y" wrote

Some would say that Stickley should have had his ass kicked for causing generations of woodworkers to take such pains to make wood what it is not.
;)
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Last update: 3/27/08
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Swingman wrote:

True!
But then you look at it!
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"B A R R Y" wrote

it
not.
LOL ... but, but, if you know anything about wood, the _look_ is totally unnatural, and the proponents are generally the same folks spending of enormous amounts of money, time and effort seeking to preserve and maintain "the _natural_ beauty of wood".
... go figure. :)
Naaaah ... I still think Stickley had a brain fart on that score ... perhaps a precursor of our culture's current fixation on appearance over substance? AAMOF, a good argument can be made that the practice is even contrary to the much vaunted principles of the arts and crafts "movement" of the time.
Besides, my bet is that most furniture buyers today won't even notice unless it is pointed out to them.
On that same note, my flooring guys told me of a recent job where the client made them go back and remove ALL the quartersawn oak boards they had installed ... Ricky (Nelson) was right! ;)
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I second that!
-Zz

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My experience is limited but different than yours.
Infinity bit Pine, 3/4" thick Perfect joint. No tear out
My router is mounted in a table. Cuts ranged from 2" for drawers to 18" for the cabinet box.
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I've got one from MLCS that cuts perfect. I don't have to cut in passes either. The only problem I had was figuring out how to use it. For some reason I kept running both pieces flat. Finally I figured out that one goes vertical. duh...
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